SOPHOCLES'S ANTIGONE: A FEMINIST REPRESENTATION

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A woman who rebelled against a distinctively patriarchal, male-dominated Greek society. A woman who defied the orders of the King to follow her heart. A woman who acted in accordance with her sense of right and wrong. A woman with great reverence for relationships and an even greater allegiance towards family values. Such a woman deserves applause. A rebel. A legend. An example. A woman. Antigone.

Sophocles’ Antigone has as its backdrop a very rigid and conservative Greek society and Greek culture when it was certainly against the norm of a typical ancient Greek woman to rebel against a male authority. And therein lies the reason to believe that Sophocles’ protagonist in Antigone showed signs of early feminism. Antigone dared to raise
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Even in today’s world, such conflicts are manifested, particularly in poor countries, without a resolution in such a long and drawn out social dilemma.

The treatment of women has been an issue for hundreds of years. In ancient civilizations, women were seen as inferior beings. In Ancient Greece, women had no social, political, or economic importance. Socially, women were considered to be secondary to men, who were respected and honored. According to ancient Greek culture, women could not be independent, and relied entirely on the men in their lives. A woman’s role in ancient Greek society was to bear children, prepare meals, and watch after the household. A man however, fulfilled the “important” duties in Greek society. These duties included political advocacy fighting battles, protecting his family. In Ancient Greece, feminism was unheard of. Women lived in fear of speaking out against men, and would not dare contradict the ways of society. Women feared facing physical abuse, angering the gods, and sometimes death.

So, this was Greek society and Greek culture. Rigid, conservative. It was a society when it was certainly against the norm of a typical ancient Greek woman to rebel against a male authority. And this is reason to believe that Sophocles’ namesake in Antigone may have shown signs of early feminism. Antigone
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